If any form of pleasure is exhibited,
Report to me and it shall be prohibited!
I'll put my foot down; so shall it be!
This is the land of the free!
— Groucho Marx, Duck Soup
We're the morality Squad
Armed with the wrath of God!
My name is Granbo
And here's my holy hot-rod!
Freedom for all the people
Brave, true and strong
Freedom for all the people
Unless I think you're wrong!
— GWAR, "The Morality Squad"
Marge: A new violent video game has hit the streets! And we need to get rid of it, before it warps any children with its bloops and bleeps!
Homer: But that game sounds awesome!
Marge: And therefore should be destroyed!
Rod Flanders: Daddy, what are you doing?
Ned Flanders: Imploring people I never met to pressure a government with better things to do to punish a man who meant no harm for something nobody even saw. That's what I'm doing!
Rod Flanders: (pause) Daddy, we think you need a new mommy.
— The Simpsons, "You Kent Always Get What You Want"
Marge: Call me a killjoy, but I think that because this is not to my taste, no one else should be able to enjoy it.
— The Simpsons, "The Great Wife Hope"
"You're like the religious zealots who are burdened by their sad duty of decrying the obvious moral decay of each new generation...More harm has been done by people panicked over societal decline than societal decline ever did."
"There are those who so dislike the nude that they find something indecent in the naked truth."
— Francis Herbert Bradley
“Nearly all a poor bastard's desires are punishable by jail.”
— Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Journey to the End of the Night
“Must be a yearning deep in human heart to stop other people from doing as they please. Rules, laws — always for other fellow...always something they hated to see neighbors doing. Stop them 'for their own good' — not because speaker claimed to be harmed by it.”
"Mary Whitehouse has taken umbrage, no surprise there."
— Monty Python's Flying Circus, "Election Night Special"
"Consueta vitia ferimus, nova reprendimus. note "
— Publilius Syrus
"Ask yourselves if this is the kind of book you would wish your wife or servants to read."
— From the court hearing against Lady Chatterley's Lover
"To hold a pen is to be at war."
"There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all."
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
"The lust to standardize and regulate extends to the most trivial minutia of everyday life."
"I like a moral problem so much better than a real problem."
— Dr. Elaine May
"Once upon a time, the highest American distinction that could befall fifty-two men and women in a given year was to have one's face on the cover of Time magazine. Even Auden was thrilled when he heard that he was the subject of a cover story, and deeply hurt when it was cancelled because the managing editor, nodding beneath his flat rock, had been told that Auden was a fag and no fag could ever be so honored. This changed in time, but too late for Auden."
— Gore Vidal, Palimpsest
“Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.”
— Kurt Vonnegut
"Tell you what: Kiss my ass! How do you like that?"
—Frank Zappa, replying to being called an "idiot' because of his opposition to censorship, Crossfire debate (1986)
"There's so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets?"
— Dick Cavett
“Press conference yielded the usual crop of daftness. I've been asked if I related personally to Carrington's tortured relationship with sex and replied that no, not really, I'd had a very pleasant time since I was fifteen. This elicited very disapproving copy from the Brits... No wonder people think we don't have sex in England.”
— Emma Thompson, Bringing Jane Austen's Novel to Film
“Any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay.”
—Ann Coulter on the 2014 World Cup
"Now and then it seems that banning is all they can do. It's all they seem to want to do. That's the problem with a free nation: you can't make yourself significant by granting freedoms, so you spend your time looking for freedoms to restrict in the name of a greater good, and there's always a greater good... As long as we're worried about sending messages: it sends an excellent message to let kids know that something that might encourage doubleplus Ungoodthink can be taken away by the state because you might draw the wrong conclusions."
— James Lileks, The Bleat, "Thursday, March 05"
"Although the fight was lost, I for one want to salute the anonymous patron for fighting the good fight and lobbying for this book to be banned. I am a father, and like many fathers I live in mortal fear of my children attacking me. There’s already an unspoken tension between us. I’m getting older and weaker, they’re getting bigger and stronger. I don’t need lunatics like Dr. Seuss exacerbating that tension with lines such as 'We like to hop. We like to hop on top of Pop.'"
— The Screamsheet in response to a Toronto petition to ban Hop on Pop from public libraries
"The first thing I noticed about this video is the warning on the front and the back of the box that it CONTAINS NO NUDITY. Are you trying to protect my delicate sensibilities, Dirty Line Dancin'? Call me non-retarded, but maybe an instructional video on how to dry hump isn't the best place to take your moral stand against nudity. I ought to masturbate to this on principle."
Yahtzee: These early stages of the game are a wee bit slow and wee bit boring, I'll fully admit that: But if I tell you now that this was one of the earliest games to be refused classification in Australia because of extreme gratuitous violence and full-frontal nudity, then hopefully that'll keep your interest alive long enough to keep watching through the dull bits.
Gabriel: How dare video games remind me the violence inherent in my own species.
Yahtzee: Yes, anybody might play this and think—
Gabriel: (GASP!) —think they have a penis.
"You prefer compelling lies about vodka tampons and sex bracelets than factual monotony because you are happier being angry than being right. Moral outrage is useful, even when it's built around imaginary problems because it gives you the context to say, 'Wow, I'm a pretty good person in comparison to that.'"
"'Think of the children' being a slogan that almost completely forecloses any possibility of actually doing so. 'The children' are in the end a nebulously defined potential utopia severed from the lived experience of any actual people. They are non-existent but ideal citizens, defined by the very fact of their non-participation in sex or politics. When the child becomes an adult - i.e. an actual functioning citizen, they notably lose this aura of protection, rendering the ugly fallacy of this rhetoric clear.
"I was approached by several evangelical students who were gravely concerned that I might worship Satan and I'd better attend seminary quick before Beelzebub gets a devil set aside for me. I was even hauled before the principal and warned that I would be expelled for gambling (because of the funny-shaped dice) if I didn't stop bringing my devil books...Luckily we're beyond such crackpot theories now. Oh wait, people still think Harry Potter is turning kids into witches. Never mind.""
"Oh yes, much like the Chick Tracts warned us, D&D was my enticing entry point to a world of decadent sin and NEEEEEEEERDery...Which might make it more ironic that the first group to get me into the tumbling die was a group of Evangelical kids. Sure, they may have tweaked the rules so that magic was actually just psionics (because apparently an omniscient ruler of the Universe with a hate-on for anything even hinting of the dark vile forces of magick is also apparently easily fooled by a simple search and replace… no no see, my fictional character is setting things on fire with their brain, not random fictional magical powers, so we’re all good)"
"The Motion Picture Association of America is less than pleased about a new poster for directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s new Sin City film adaptation, A Dame to Kill For. The poster depicts the title character, Ava Lord, played by actress Eva Green, wearing a sheer gown that doesn’t really cover all that much. Specifially, the MPAA complained about the 'curve of under breast and dark nipple/areola circle visible through sheer gown.'
Reading a Frank Miller comic would probably make the MPAA’s collective head explode."
"We start out with a parental discretion warning. I've whined about this before. The last time they did this was when Lionel put a gun to his head and contemplated suicide because he was going to die in pain. Because, you know, that's not something someone might do or something a kid might have to one day confront on their own. Something that parents might WANT to have brought before their kids, given the high rate of suicide in teenagers. Y'know."
"Boy, am I glad they cut that last shot out of the theatrical version. I hate it when my slasher movies contain slashings in them. Just as I hate comedies that don't cut out the funny parts."
"Cortez gets straight up revenge murdered, which is surprising considering that this is the same show where BS&P wouldn’t let Amelia Voght carry a suitcase out of Professor X’s giant mansion where six people were residing because it might imply that they were living in sin..."
"It is an absolute joke that (Scott) Snyder’s Batman is rated “T,” as I doubt if the Joker wearing his skinned face as a mask is something any parent wants their 13-year-old reading. Batwoman, which is far less gory than Wonder Woman or Batman, is rated “T+” – presumably because it shows women kissing each other. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!"
"Wertham wasn’t the only anti-comics hysteric, but he was the first to do a whole book out of the subject, and his testimony formed the bulk of the anti-comics portion of the 1953 juvenile delinquency hearings that ended up crippling the industry. Wertham’s testimony, equal parts irate nonsense and also book tour promotional stop for Seduction, which had just come out, got half the mothers in the country terrified of just what comic books were doing to their poor, susceptible Leave It to Beaver 1950s kids. His testimony contained no scientific data, was based on no credible research, and willfully misrepresented the content of the comics he was using as examples, but he brought with him the veneer of a very respectable doctor fighting the good fight for the kids."